Jeff Simendinger started SIMM Associates on a dining room table at his parents house. That somehow seems appropriate given Simendinger’s love of food (he almost went to culinary school). But the food industry’s loss is the ARM industry’s gain. SIMM Associates has grown and that is a testament to the hard work of Simendinger and his team. Read on to learn more about Jeff and why trying to call him in the morning may not be the best idea.
Name: Jeff Simendinger
Company: SIMM Associates, Inc.
Length of time at current company: 26 Years
Length of time in industry: 28 Years
How did you get your start in the industry?
While in college I worked part time at MBNA in their telemarketing division soliciting affinity credit cards. My manager at the time was asked to put a team together of top performers for a special project. The project was for us to make outbound reminder calls to cardholders that were in the five-day delinquency bucket. The project lasted several months and I was very successful so I posted for a permanent position in collections. I figured it would make myself more marketable adding collections to my resume. Little did I know that once you’re in this industry there’s no getting out!
What is your career highlight so far?
Two come to mind … co-founding SIMM and testifying before the Delaware House Committee on Revenue & Finance. SIMM was started in 1991 out of my parents’ dining room and since that time we’ve grown to be a national collection agency that now operates from a 32,000 square foot state-of-the-art call center. I’m very proud of what we’ve built and its certainly a long way from my mom’s dining room table. As for my testimony, I spoke on behalf of MACA and the industry in general in regards to proposed legislation that would’ve negatively impacted debt collection procedures in Delaware. I’m happy to say that the legislation was not passed and has remained idle to this day.
Which industry professional do you admire most?
I don’t have one particular person that I admire the most but rather I’m fortunate to have a small network of collection agency owners and industry peers that I can call at any time to discuss trends, concerns and challenges. I do have high admiration for any principal owner(s) of a collection agency that weathered the regulatory storm that stemmed from the financial crisis back in 2007-2008. The industry completely changed and those agencies that were able to adapt, persevere, diversify and continue to grow have my utmost admiration.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
Ha…everything but if I had to narrow it down to one thing it would be communicating with people. I’m a people person so I feel that I have excellent people skills and can talk to anyone and everyone. A collector, a CEO of a company … no problem! I get the gift of gab from my mother.
When or how are you most productive?
I’m not a morning person so I would say my most productive time is in the afternoon and early evening. Being self-employed, you don’t punch a clock so I do a lot of work from my cell phone whether it be making and taking calls from the car or answering emails late into the night.
What do you like most about this industry?
I like the challenge that this industry brings on a daily basis. There is nothing routine about owning and operating a collection agency. The competitiveness is also something that I enjoy. If you’re not a competitive person than this industry isn’t for you. I love to compete and nothing makes me prouder than to finish on top for a client month over month.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
Clear and decisive rules. Tell us what is acceptable and what is not.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I enjoy cooking and at what time considered going to culinary school. I could’ve seen myself as an executive chef or owner of a restaurant.
Describe a typical work day.
If I’m not on the road traveling to see clients or attending industry events my day usually starts fairly normal but never ends that way. In the morning I spend time reviewing performance, forecasts and trends for each and every line of business that we service and responding to emails. Once that’s done the typical day goes right out the window. Anything and everything at SIMM comes across my desk so my day pretty much plans itself!
What is your guilty pleasure?
I’m a foodie so I enjoy going to dinner and sampling different foods, wines and craft beer.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
My father told me early on in my career to never burn bridges and I’ve tried my best to follow that advice. You just never know where a past client, associate, former employee or peer will end up. I’ve tried to always maintain a professional attitude to even the most difficult people I’ve crossed paths with.
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I’m a very shy person. Just ask anyone that knows me in the industry! 🙂
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Kelli Edmonds, Tom Nusspickel, Stephanie Kaster.